By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Real Cambridge, December 2016 Edition
Growing up there was an unofficial tradition in my family to have a Christmas Day outfit. Pyjamas sufficed for morning present opening – we weren’t a family that could wait until after lunch! It was after this that the Christmas “Sunday Best” was adorned. Something glam but comfy enough to get through lunch, dessert and the obligatory television watching/games and turkey sandwiches that often followed.
It’s a tradition that has stayed with me over the years, so come November I’m usually scouring the Autumn/Winter collections for something special. It tends to be sparkly so I’ve also found that it doubles up nicely for the December party season too. Like many of you my Christmas calendar is made up of lots of events with different groups of people – work, friends, sports dinners (my husband is the sporty one!). This means that I can get good wear out of one outfit which helps with cost per wear value – something I advocate.
What’s the problem you might ask? Wearing that outfit to death in December means that it has Christmas stamped all over it; making it difficult, sometimes impossible, for me to wear it once the tinsel is packed away come the new year.
Christmas 2016 is going to be different. Historically my Christmas Sunday Best has been quite distinctive, most often an ornate dress, which is not particularly easy to dress up or dress down. This year I’m going to think capsule wardrobe. It’s a concept that I recommend to my clients regularly, and I apply to the rest of my wardrobe, why not here too?
So now I’m on the hunt…
First stop, my wardrobe. I have a look through and find the perfect start with a plain dress, ripe for accessorising. A simple skirt and top would have added even more flexibility, something to look for in the sales methinks. For now, bags, belts, necklaces, earrings, brooches, hats, scarves, jackets, shoes – there’s plenty there to work with. My plan is to pick items that I can mix and match throughout December. Not only that but – shock horror – I’m hoping you’ll find me wearing the necklace in April, holding the bag in July and wrapped up in the scarf next November – you get the drift.
We are lucky to have an array of shops in Cambridge offering a huge variety of clothes, shoes and accessories. An extra advantage of buying independently is that the stores usually have a limited amount of stock so you’re less likely to see someone else wearing the same outfit as you. I’ve picked out a few of my favourites in my #pickoftherails but there are lots of others out there in our Cambridge stores. Top tip – some of my favourite jewellery finds are hidden away in the arty shops like Cambridge Contemporary Crafts so make sure you pop into them too.
I’m looking forward to creating my Christmas capsule wardrobe and I have no doubt whilst I’m out shopping I’ll be picking up some presents along the way. I’m also excited that for once, come January, my wardrobe won’t include the ghost of Christmas past!
A couple of my favourites from #pickofthereails…